Orbán, mayor adopt contrasting tones at 1956 events

History

Hungary commemorated the fallen heroes of the 1956 Uprising against communism on October 23, with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivering a surprisingly low-key address and new Mayor of Budapest Gergely Karácsony opening the square behind City Hall to the public. The day did not pass without incident, however.

Orbán, contrastingly to recent years, opted to speak indoors, at an event closed to the public. News site index.hu reported that the PM began his speech at the Liszt Academy of Music at around 7 p.m., largely avoiding current political issues and focusing on the heroes of 1956.

“The people of ʼ56 won because they left a legacy of courage and the greatness of heroism to us, their successors,” Orbán said. He added that in 1956, Hungarians came together and delivered a miracle, but paid a price for the nation by sacrificing their lives and freedom, even giving up their homes.

The PMʼs speech was in sharp contrast with his remarks last year, when he took a dig at the European Union, saying that “those who want to create an empire out of the European Union are pro-immigration, without exception.”

Karácsony holds public event behind City Hall

The newly elected mayor of Budapest also gave an address on Wednesday, at a square behind City Hall which is currently used as a parking lot. He pledged to open the area to the public during his tenure.

According to news site 444.hu, Karácsony opened by saying “it was so long ago that we came together for a cause, instead of protesting against something.”

Contrastingly to Orbán, the new mayor touched on current political issues during his appearance. He said that he has two aims as mayor: “Making Budapest the most livable and greenest city of Central and Eastern Europe, and making it the most important center of the free, republican Hungary.”

DK representative attacked, taken away by ambulance

Members of opposition party the Democratic Coalition (DK) organized a flash mob in front of the Academy of Music, where Orbán held his speech, holding up placards with anti-government messages, according to a report by current affairs portal hvg.hu.

Shortly after the beginning of their action, a far-right activist attempted to tear the placards out of their hands, injuring DK municipal representative Ágnes Domokos, who had to be taken away by ambulance. The report says that Domokos suffered bruises.

The activist, Zsolt Bede, founder of far-right blog vadhajtasok.hu, whom independent daily Népszava describes as a “professional troll” for the government, was taken away by the police.

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